27 March 2009

Daring Bakers March Challenge : Part 1 - White Sauce of Yum

Welcome to this months Daring Baker challenge. Unfortunately I've had to split it into 5 (yes, 5) posts, so that I wouldn't end up with one huge post :) This was a long, hard process, so beware if you intend to undertake it, and take not of the 4th post where I'll let you know what I thought of the overall result. And now, the formalities :

The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.

The Challenge :

- make the pasta recipe as follows (we’ve included alternative instructions for those with dietary requirements). Hand-making your own pasta is the main challenge for this month. While you should make your own pasta to complete the challenge, please don't feel that you need to buy a pasta machine. Lynne's recipe gives instructions for hand-rolling the pasta with a rolling pin and we'd like you to do the same

- a white (b├ęchamel) sauce must be used. We’ve included a recipe but you’re welcome to use your own favourite recipe if you have one.

- we’ve also included Lynne’s recipe for the meat ragu sauce that is part of the finished lasagne. However, this sauce is optional and you are welcome to make up your own sauce (particularly if you don’t eat meat), or use your own favourite meat ragu sauce recipe. If you choose to use your own recipe, please include it with your post.

How I found it :

I failed at making the spinach pasta as given, but I did make a plain pasta. It was hard going and took a few hours, about 3 on the failed pastas, and another 3 on making, kneading, resting, rolling and drying the successful pasta.

I used the white sauce recipe given, it took about an hour or so, I think I cooked it a little too long, because when I used it it had gotten quite thick, however, it still tasted quite nice.

I used a variation on the ragu recipe given, to suit my own taste buds and cupboard. It took me overall about 2 to 3 hours, including all the chopping I had to do. It didn't wow me, I'll be honest, and for the amount of work that went into it, I was expecting more.

Putting it all together went off without a hitch, and it baked well. But all in all, it was a lot of effort for not a great result.

Part 1 : Bechamel


6 tbsp butter
6 tbsp plain flour
1 litre whole fat milk
salt and pepper to taste

Method :

01. Place the butter in a saucepan over a low heat until melted.

02. Sift in flour and whisk until smooth.

03. Add in 1/2 cup milk and whisk until smooth again.

04. Continue until all milk is used.

05. Heat over medium heat until slowly simmering, and continue to simmer until the mix thickens.

06. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, tasting and adding salt and pepper until ready.

This bechamel will keep in the fridge for 3 days :)

1 comment:

Audax said...

What a lot of posts you did I read all of them. Sorry to read that you were underwhelmed by the recipe I really like it a lot. I liked how it was thin layers not the usual thick layer of stuff. Hope next month's challenge has better results.